An autumn course in Zoroastrianism

Pir-e Sabz, Zoroastrian pilgrimage site in central Iran. Photo: Courtesy of Kaiyan Mistree. Copyright: UiB.

The University of Bergen (Norway) and the Shapoorji Pallonji Institute of Zoroastrian Studies at SOAS, University of London, offer this autumn (23–27 September 2019) a short course on Zoroastrianism. This free course takes place in Rome and offers international students an opportunity to immerse themselves in the study of this religion with its rich history. The course is taught by Sarah Stewart (SOAS) and Michael Stausberg (Bergen) who will be joined by Jenny Rose (Claremont). Application deadline is 24 June 2019.

Ritual Matter(s): Nowruz Ceremonies of the Zoroastrian New Year in Tehran

Another photo essay by Behrad Mistry, again from last year and over at the Ajam Media Collective.

The Zoroastrian New Year coincides with the Spring Equinox. It marks not only the beginning of the calendar, but the renewal of life in its perennial struggle with death. This annual milestone is an occasion for celebration, and involves a series of ritual arrangements and acts.

Source: Ritual Matter(s): Nowruz Ceremonies of the Zoroastrian New Year in Tehran – Ajam Media Collective

Zoroastrian Nowruz in Tehran: Celebrating the “Big Five” – Ajam Media Collective

A commented photo essay from last year by Behrad Mistry over at the Ajam Media Collective.

The following is a photo essay by Behrad Nafissi Mistry. Born into the caste of Zoroastrian priests, Behrad is half Indian Parsi, half Iranian and is currently training to also serve as a priest. Behrad is a photo-journalist at Amordad Zoroastrian News Agency and Humans of Tehran. He holds a B.A. in English Literature and an M.A. in Comparative Literature from Shahid Beheshti University. This series will focus on Tehran’s Zoroastrian community and their practices before, during, and after Nowruz.

Source: Zoroastrian Nowruz in Tehran: Celebrating the “Big Five” – Ajam Media Collective

Reception of Islam in Iran

Crone, Patricia. 2016. The Iranian reception of Islam: The non-traditionalist strands (Islamic History and Civilization 130). Collected Studies in Three Volumes. Vol. 2 edited by Hanna Siurua. Leiden; Boston: Brill.

The Multimedia Yasna

Y 35 in J2
Y 35 in J2

“Alt-Iranistik” has always been considered a small and exotic field, a so-called “Orchideenfach”. Despite its small size and the limited financial resources available for research, Alt-Iranistik is an unexpectedly vibrant field. The many job announcements of the past year will hopefully continue as a trend and create stable research and teaching environments for the many talented people active in the field. May there be more announcements like this:

SOAS academic awarded European Research Council grant of €2.5 million to study core ritual of Zoroastrianism

Congratulations to Prof. Hintze for receiving this important grant.

On obnoxious creatures!

Some nifty and original observations by my Shervin Farridnejad on a passage in the Nērangestān, discussing the priestly duty concerning the care of xrafstars, commonly referred to as obnoxious creatures:

Farridnejad, Shervin. 2015. Take care of the xrafstars! A note on Nēr. 7.5. DABIR 1(1). 11–13.

Die Arier

An interesting ZDF documentary about racist ideologies in Germany. 35 minutes into the documentary Josef Wiesehöfer is interviewed about the term ‘Arier’ followed by interviews  with people in Abyaneh, presumably because they are believed to be Zoroastrians! The journey to Iran ends with a few shots at Naqš-e Rostam.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VHhh0o5cZj4

Zoroastrianism in India

Parsi Mumbai: The legacy of Zoroastrianism in India’s urban babric, published by the Ajam Media Collective, is a nicely written piece on Parsis in India, documented with many photos. Although Cafe Mondegar is not mentioned, the publication of the article coincides with the news that Mondegar might face eviction.

Ohrmazd’s better judgement

Agostini, Domenico, Eva Kiesele & Shai Secunda. 2014. Ohrmazd’s better judgement (meh-dādestānīh). A Middle Persian legal and theological discourse. Studia Iranica 43(2). 177–202.

This article presents a transcription, translation, commentary, and discussion of a ritual and theological passage taken from the long-neglected Middle Persian work, the Zand ī fragard ī Jud-dēw-dād. The selection is notable for the way it mixes theological and ritual forms of discourse while considering situations in which impure or Evil things, like corpses, wolves, and sins, naturally come into contact with pure and Good elements, like water, fire, and good deeds. Along with explaining this rich text and its various textual parallels, the article considers the potential research value of the Zand ī fragard ī Jud-dēw-dād for Iranists and scholars of late antique religious literature.